martes, 18 de diciembre de 2012

The knitty gritty

My grandmother taught me to knit when she babysat my sister and myself as children.  I remember the whole process being very frustrating for my younger sister, who is left-handed (sorry, K!), but I enjoyed it.  Over the years, I knit a scarf or two, but it wasn't until my pregnancies that I became a full-blown knitter, later graduating from layette sets to complicated beaded lace knitting.

In Spain, I often take my projects with me to the park while my boys play soccer, and my abilities have met with mixed reactions: from "How did you do that?  That's so cool!" to "What, are you a grandmother?".  Younger women in Spain simply just don't knit, and I can honestly say I don't know a single person under the age of 70 who does.

It's also hard to find good-quality yarn in Spain, so I usually stock up when I go home to the States, or I order on-line from British stores., a free online needle-arts community, has been a fabulous source of inspiration.  If you're a member, you can find me at

I just finished this flower-power hat for my one-year-old niece:
What are you knitting now?

jueves, 6 de diciembre de 2012

The December Garden

You know, over the years many Spaniards who have met me can't help but asking, "Is there anything you don't like about living in Spain?"  And, my response is always the same: "Yes, two things, actually: July and August!"  I mean, how could a white-as-a-sheet New Englander ever become accustomed to living in a climate with virtually no shade trees and 110+ ºF temperatures?  I even have to wear a hat swimming in the pool (not very Spanish, mind you)!

Nonetheless, living in a warmer climate with unbearable summers does have its advantages: milder winters and a longer growing season.  We even have roses in December!  These are a selection of flowers that are blooming in my garden right now: 

Abraham Darby


Golden Celebration

New Dawn

Mme. Alfred Carrière
What's blooming in your garden?


sábado, 24 de noviembre de 2012

English Roses

If you haven't been able to figure it out until now, I love the outdoors.  Funny thing is, I didn't figure it out myself until a few years ago.  When I first came to Spain, I was attracted to city-living in Madrid, which has a lot to offer for students: great public transportation, even better night life and lots of window-shopping.  Funny thing is, why was I always trying to grow a garden on my teeny balcony?

Then came marriage, suburbia, children and yet another balcony, which actually did start to flourish, but there was always this "gotta get outta the city" feeling on the weekend.  We started to spend our free time driving around the countyside looking for the place where we would live, first in Segovia, later in Toledo.

The place turned out to be a little village in La Mancha, with wide open spaces and room for boys to run and bike, and land... lots of land.

At about the same time, internet came into all of our lives, mine probably later than most.  I discovered websites that sold English roses, then ordered a catalogue from Peter Beales (, and I was done for.

So, now I am in the midst of starting a drought-resistant cottage garden with antique and English roses in the middle of sunblazed Spain.  Crazier things have happened...

New neighbors

A rainy November afternoon brought quite a surprise recently... mongeese!  I had never seen such a thing, and had to identify them on the internet.  I have shown these photos to friends in the village, and no one had ever seen them before, except for a couple of hunters.

This "pack" (especially fitting because they move about like coyotes or dingos) included 6 mongeese (Herpestes ichneumon), the largest measuring more than a meter.  Not something I'd like to come up against alone...

miércoles, 21 de marzo de 2012

Happy Spring! And, Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Believe it or not, this is what the first day of spring has brought us: no snow all winter, and hardly even a drop of rain, and now... WHAM! We've already gone sledding this morning and will surely be playing Clue and Monopoly this afternoon with the boys, and I'm sitting next to a nice, warm fire as we speak.

viernes, 24 de febrero de 2012

This one's for Daddy

OK, one of the main reasons I thought this blog would be a good idea was to be able to keep in closer touch with family and friends in the US. In particular, I had wanted to try to upload videos of the boys so the folks at home can see what they are up to.

Of course, this is just another example of my best-laid schemes ganging aft agley once again. Apparently, the video I want to upload is too large. So, I've uploaded it to YouTube, and here's the link:

The video is a performance of the sixth-graders from the student Christmas show at Eldest Son's school in December. I am hoping that Daddy will get a kick out of this one 'cause it's kinda cool, and I figure he could use some fun while recuperating from a broken ankle.

The title of the song is called "Cuenta Conmigo", which means "Count On Me", and before waching it you should turn off lights around you so you can see it better.

This one is for you, Grandpa!

sábado, 21 de enero de 2012

The neighbors

What we find most interesting about living out here in the middle of nowhere are our neighbors. Not of the human variety, mind you, but of the wilder type. I can't even count the number of times that someone yells "Look, look, look!", dashing over to the window with camera in hand. Well, the one with the camera in hand is usually me, of course, and since I work at home alone I often times yell only to my inner self, but you get the idea.

This blog will more than likely be dotted with frequent entries about our neighbors, but I cannot imagine that any will be more impressive than this: an águila real (Aquila chrysaetos). Believe it or not, the thing was so big that I thought it was a man sitting on the rocks out there. I've found photos online of an eagle with similar markings and have been able to identify it as a 3-year-old male.

You don't need to say it - I know I need to get a better lens. Any ideas for a Canon PowerShot S3?

martes, 17 de enero de 2012

A Room with a View

I can't help it. I love sunsets. They have always reminded me of our summers spent in Maine at the cottage. I find it no coincidence that the living room in our new home is also west-facing. Fate? Hardly. It is unfortunate, however, that not many of our friends and family get to see the sunsets that we enjoy daily. But, sunset or not, it is quite a view.